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In the blood: the myth and reality of genetic markers of identity

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-10-21, 10:45 authored by Mark A. Jobling, Rita Rasteiro, Jon H. Wetton
The differences between copies of the human genome are very small, but tend to cluster in different populations. So, despite the fact that low inter-population differentiation does not support a biological definition of races statistical methods are nonetheless claimed to be able to predict successfully the population of origin of a DNA sample. Such methods are employed in commercial genetic ancestry tests, and particular genetic signatures, often in the male-specific Y-chromosome or maternally-inherited mitochondrial DNA, have become widely identified with particular ancestral or existing groups, such as Vikings, Jews, or Zulus. Here, we provide a primer on genetics, and describe how genetic markers have become associated with particular groups. We describe the conflict between population genetics and individual-based genetics and the pitfalls of over-simplistic genetic interpretations, arguing that although the tests themselves are reliable, the interpretations are unreliable and strongly influenced by cultural and other social forces.

History

Citation

Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2016, 39(2), pp. 142-161

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/MBSP Non-Medical Departments/Department of Genetics

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Ethnic and Racial Studies

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

issn

0141-9870

eissn

1466-4356

Acceptance date

2015-10-05

Copyright date

2015

Available date

2017-06-14

Publisher version

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01419870.2016.1105990

Notes

The file associated with this record is under an 18-month embargo from publication in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy, available at http://authorservices.taylorandfrancis.com/journal-list/. The full text may be available in the publisher links provided above.

Language

en

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